A startup company is looking to create software that will take advantage of the performance and security attributes of Intel Corp.s 64-bit Itanium processor.
Officials with Secure64 Software Corp., launched this week, said that general-purpose operating systems, which are being built to run on disparate platforms, cant by their nature be enhanced by Itaniums features. That is where this new software will fit in.
For example, Itaniums architecture offers security features with four privilege levels—as opposed to the two offered in other platforms—and compartmentalization.
As far as performance, Itanium can run up to eight instructions per cycle, of IPC, compared with one to three IPC for such processors as Intels Pentium and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s Opteron processors, and RISC chips, said CEO Peter Cranstone.
Cranstone said Secure64, based in Englewood, Colo., is working on software that will enhance the performance of Web-based applications by taking advantage of Itaniums attributes. The software, which is scheduled for release this summer, will complement general OSes, he said.
“People will pay for performance, and if you can give them the security, they will switch to that platform,” Cranstone said.
That would be a boon to Intel, which worked with Hewlett-Packard Co. to create Itanium. Initially seen as a general-purpose processor that would become the de facto 64-bit chip, it has been hampered by increases in the performance of 32-bit chips and the growing popularity of AMDs Opteron processor.
Now Intel and HP, which is the primary vendor for Itanium-based servers, target Itanium systems at the high-end RISC replacement space.
One of Secure64s key executives is Bill Worley, a former chief scientist at HP and a key architect of Itanium. Itaniums performance and security features will drive adoption if the right software is introduced to take advantage of it, he said.
“I look at the two advantages [Itanium has over other architectures], and if you could leverage them, why wouldnt people buy them?” Worley asked.
Neither Cranstone nor Worley would give details of the software, but said it would help in the areas of transaction processing and multimedia presentations.